Interactive Walk to Bethlehem ready for 11th season
Many of the 150 volunteer actors, guides, bakers, singers, set people, and more, were on hand Sunday at the Hudson Community Baptist Church as production for the 11th annual Walk to Bethlehem kicked into high gear.
The popular theatrical —TRADITION experience that draws thousands of people each season to the sprawling grounds of the rural church, will run this year during two weekends: November 25 - 26, and Dec. 2 - 3.
For those who’ve never been, Walk to Bethlehem is an interactive retelling of the biblical Christmas Eve story. From the moment visitors reach the “gates to the city,” they become part of the story. Roman soldiers may demand a payment of taxes, while costumed guides lead travellers to twelve different outdoor stations set up along tiki-lit pathways. Visitors will encounter live barn animals, singing angels, wise men, a marketplace, shepherds, and more. The experience culminates in a real stable where Mary and Joseph welcome their newborn son. Sandra Anderson, the Walk’s drama coach, who has been part of the production for the past five years, says the event is a true community effort. “It bring together so many people from our church, and other churches and people in the community. We have people bake over 8,000 treats that we offer to guests... it’s really such a wonderful experience for all of us,” she said. Anderson said they make an effort to change some aspect of the production each year. “We have families that come back year after year, it’s become a tradition for so many, so we like to change it up a little.” Anderson said everyone works hard to stay in character and portray the event as if it is taking place 2,000 years ago. And following the production, visitors are invited to warm up inside the church’s Christmas Cafe where hot chocolate and homemade treats are offered. Walk to Bethlehem is free to attend, though donations which help cover production costs are accepted. Visitors are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations which will be distributed to families in need through the Dorion Dream Centre food bank. The historical re-enactment takes place outdoors on sometimes-uneven terrain. Visitors are advised to dress for nighttime outdoor walking. The Hudson Community Baptist Church is located at 3141, Cote St-Charles in Saint Lazare (exit 22 from Highway 40). Friday tours will run from 6 p.m.- 9 p.m., Saturday tours from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Tours leave approximately every 10 minutes. Bilingual tour guides are available.